A number of years ago I belonged to a writers' group that was a wonderful source of good critiques and strong support. It was a mix of published and unpublished writers, but no matter what side of the fence any one stood on, the dedication to writing was the same.
One of the things we always did at our annual Holiday party was to write down three writing-related goals for the coming year. The goals had to be specific and significant, like finishing a work in progress, acquiring an agent, or selling a book. We would all write down our goals, then put the papers in an envelope that was sealed to be opened the following year. Then we would open the envelope from the year before.
It was always interesting and enlightening to read what we had written and report on how well we had achieved those goals. Some of us did much better than others, but I found that writing the goals down, knowing they would be shared in 12 months, made me work harder toward achieving them.
I haven't done that in a long time. Not since leaving that group almost ten years ago, and I think it is time I do a version of it again to help me stay focused on three specific goals. Maybe I will ask another writer who lives near me to do the same and exchange sealed envelopes.
What about you? Is there something you do to help stay focused and motivated?
Maryann Miller is the Managing Editor of WinnsboroToday.com, an online community magazine. She also does freelance book editing when not writing her own novels. Check out her books and editing services on her Web site